Winter Wonderland of Lights

Santas stand watch over their villages.  Each Santa has wonderfully eye pleasing domains to watch.  Santa stands dressed in his red, green, and gold with a corn pipe in his mouth.  They watch as the excitement grows along their street.  Smiling faces, glistering eyes, and excited voices all resound along the streets.

Listen closely and you will hear the AH, AH, AH, AH, of the children of all ages.  Sight seeing along the streets are like a Progressive Party or Dinner from house-to- house, which is very popular in the south.

Christmas is for children of all ages.

Mobile is a changed city during the holidays.  Everyone feels the spirit of Christmas.  The city takes on an amazing calm during this time.

Government Street and Dauphin Street are in competition, it seems.  The homes are elaborately decorated.  Homes are arrayed with beautiful colors.  The trees, the yards, the fences all participate in the Christmas Spirit that engulfs the city.

The visitors can see Mobile on display and Government and Dauphin Streets are a showcase of color during the season.

There is an ambiance about these two historical streets in December.  They give the appearance of Utopia.  Every house, every tree, and every street light is decorated and illuminates the streets until they have the  appearance of a hazy day.

The beautiful oak trees that lines the streets on both sides comes together into an Emerald City of oaks which gives the visitors the feeling of riding through an emerald tunnel.   Mobile is known for its historical trees. The oaks are hundreds of years old and preserved and valued by the entire Mobile Community.  The oaks are part of the heritage that Mobile is so proud of.

Sight seers from all the surrounding areas visit Mobile and see this Christmas Winter Wonderland of Lights and enjoy the Utopia and ambiance for that brief time they are here.

Mobile do not have snow, but it has an unforgettable beauty about it, especially at Christmas.

We are the sister city to Malaga, Spain! Wow, this beauty can be seen on both sides of the Big Pond!!

Mobile welcomes you to the Winter Wonderland of Lights.

Visit Mobile see the sites.

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I Lived On the Other Side of the Line: Excerpts

Excerpt

Echoes of slavery rang in the ears of the Negro race. The Freedom for the Negro could be compared to a handkerchief that was kept in the pockets of the slave owners to be pulled out only for use on a now-and-then basis; it was not a privilege that could be enjoyed daily by the black race.

There were echoes that rang in the 1960’s and the years before of a time gone by for more than four hundred years of the stories told of slavery, which never found a home of rest and will never find that place of rest in bondage of any kind.

There is a spirit in man that desires to be free and have freedom for
all. Bitter pills are hard to swallow no matter the kind, whether it medically or politically. Slavery was a bitter pill that the Negro had to swallow for many centuries.

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We Smoked Our Sister: My Publishing Experience

My journey with writing started when I was a child. I nurtured my desire for writing and becoming an author for many years through going to school, learning effective communication, art of public speaking and finally transforming the words in my head and heart to words on paper in a book form.

When I decided to write We Smoked Our Sister, I was lost as to how to get a book published.  The year that I spent writing and researching the materials for the book was a daunting task in and of itself. The research for my book took me back to the 1800 with memories and ancestral stories that was passed down from generation to generation.

When the manuscript was three-fourth complete, I started my research for a way to get the manuscript published into a book. My first step was with private donors, which of course, got me zero interest, simply because I was an unknown first-time writer with no prior published materials.  It was then, I turned to the task of finding a traditional publisher, which was as disappointing to me as the private donor. They all turned me down as well. At this point, I began to get discouraged as far as publishing my first book.

However, I am not a quitter.

I did not want to throw in the towel too early.  I continued to search and inquire about the different methods of getting a book published when there are no investors.

My search begin with the Internet. “Ask” Google was where I started.  I researched every Self-Publishing entity online, read every review and all level of satisfaction comments.  Next, I called and ask questions of the top Self-Publishing companies. I spent weeks muddling through company after company looking at Publishing Packages they offered.  I had several of the Publishing houses call me back with offers and information as well as other publishing information in response to my e-mails, phone calls, inquires, and etc.

I finally talked to Kevin, Sales Manager, at Author House, which at that time was at the top of my list as a starting place for a self-publisher for my book. Kevin discussed the three top publishing packages I chose with me.

He highlighted the pros and cons of each of the top three.  I chose the three based on the description of the services the package offered that I thought would be a “fit” for the needs of my manuscript.  I waited another two weeks before I made my final decision to bite the cost bullet and publish my book with Author House Publishing. I made the call to Kevin. Kevin, as usual, was waiting eagerly for me to call him. I could hear the WOW so glad you chose us tone of happiness in his voice.

After another brief discussion of my choice of publishers, we set another appointment for two weeks later to get the process started.

On the other hand, the other self-publishing companies I contacted invitation to me was to, logon to the company’s website, checkout the publishing packages we have to offer, and choose a package and then let us know your choice. They were not very encouraging to me as a writer trying to choose a publisher that would produce a good product for me. I ascertained from the dispassionate tone of their voices that their interest level was not in securing my business.  Therefore, from their lack of interest in securing me as a new client, I knew that they would treat my manuscript process the same way with the nonchalant and inattentive manner they displayed when I called for information and assistance.

After two weeks passed, Kevin, Author House Sales Manager, called me on the date and time we set and continued to answer any questions or misgiving I had about Self-Publishing compared to Traditional publishing.  He challenged me to find a Self-Publishing entity that was more credible or that Author House services could not match. Author House is part of the Author Solution umbrella.

We finally reached the point during the phone call, to Kevin setting up my account on a four month payment plan with the package that I chose. He told me that I would hear within 2-3 day from a Check-in Coordinator for further instructions.

I heard from a Check-in Coordinator within the week that I spoke with Kevin.  She was very pleasant and knowledgeable (a very important factor) about the Check-in process and all steps. After my first initial conversation, later that day, I received an e-mail giving me the process outlined in very minute details and assigning me a project number to refer to each time I contacted them.

Over the next weeks, she consistently called me to ask my progress on the last leg of my manuscript and if she could be of assistance please let her know. She asked as well, an approximate time-frame in which I expected to have the manuscript completed for submission.  After another month, I felt that I was ready to submit the manuscript.

I went online to the submission form to submit. I ran into a snag with the regular form, it would not allow uploading of my manuscript of 45,000 words.  When I contacted her I got an immediate response with help to submit my manuscript via e-mail if the online submission process was not working for me.  I submitted the manuscript to her via e-mail with my project number.

I got an e-mail of receipt of my manuscript from my Check-in Coordinator the same day of submission.  She e-mailed me also that my manuscript would go to editorial within five to seven days.  I heard from my Check-in Coordinator on the 7th day. My manuscript was in the editorial process, which would take approximately three weeks.  She explained to me the entire process, which included a Q & A periods.  The editorial process took approximately three weeks to complete.

After three weeks, I heard from the editorial staff giving me details of what my manuscript needed.  I also heard from my Check-in Coordinator the same day confirming with me that I did receive my manuscript with suggested changes and instructions from the editorial staff.

The editorial staff informed me that a line edit was needed at $.29 cents per words.  My Check-in Coordinator discussed with me the fact that the line edit would take a minimum of three weeks. By the end of the third week, I got the manuscript via e-mail from the editorial staff with the line edit suggestions.  It took me almost two weeks to go through each section and make the changes as suggested or leave it unchanged because it made the material more effective the way it was written.

I re-submitted my manuscript with changes. It was time for my pics, reviews, and about the author information to be submitted.

Cover design came next. I design my own book covers (ideas) and Author House did an excellent job of putting my ideas into a wonderful and very eye catching cover.  The cover is exactly as I imagined it in my head.  I could not have asked for more.

I sent my marketing questions in as requested with keywords for my book when the lovers of the written word are searching the Internet.  This was the third month of the publishing process.  I was asked about the time line
for release. My book was released with that time-frame.

The publishing process started in late April and it was released in late August.  My Check-in Coordinator informed me at this point that her part of the process was finished and she gave me the name of the marketing rep that I was assigned to who (and when they would be contacting me later that day), would be working with me in my next phase of the book publishing process.

I was also contacted by marketing staff with further instructions that same week. I discussed with him other questions in reference to what I. the client. wanted and what the vision for my book included.  The marketing rep talked with me about all of the marketing possibilities and what choices would be the best for a book in the genre I wrote it.

After three weeks, I received a copy of the cover and text for my final review and approval (throughout the entire process, I was kept informed. I never had to wander what was the next step or where are we with this book).

Before my book went Live, my assigned marketing rep, Leigh Landry, called me to discuss set-up my social network and my website connections as part of my marketing package.

She did an excellent job of setting up and getting me acquainted with the social media process over the six week period of my marketing book release-run.  I became very familiar with the social media network ins and outs in reference to getting information about my book to the public.

My book was released August 30, 2010.  I received my hard copy for approval before they printed the copies that came with my package.  received my books 10 days later.

Every aspect of the Self-Publishing experience with Author House and the publication of my book: We Smoked Our Sister Stories from a Childhood: A Time to Remember was pleasant and timely. Any glitches during the process they immediately rectified.

I am still in contact with Author House Publishing now on a frequent basis even though I have not published another book with them yet.  But, I have published my first two books with Author House.

My second book was a breeze with Author House.  They knew me and what I like or did not like and the Check-in Coordinator was the same person that I worked with during my initial publishing process, which made it a charm.  The saying goes, ‘the third time is a charm’, well I can say as a published author that ‘the second time was the charm’ in this case.

Getting to know the client, impressed me about Author House as much as them doing an excellent job of producing a product that I am proud of.  Their cliental gets the benefit of both the value and the feature of the product they have to offer, which is “Excellent Service.”

I would recommend them to any author. I intend to publish with them again. The attitude of the staff at Author House is very pleasant. However, most of all, the success or not of your book starts with the Check-in Coordinator. If the initial process is not handled in a caring, professional and timely manner the remainder of the process is not going to go well either.

I feel that it was money well-spent and an investment well-worth my time. Time is an important factor in publishing and Author House seem to be aware of the importance of time to their cliental. I had a positive experience with my publication.

Oh, by the way, which is a time worn southern cliché, the AUTHOR is a solid investor. If we do not have the confidence to invest not only our time, but also our own money in our own product, why would anyone else?

 

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A Southern Viewpoint: The Blights of Society

Living in this day and century makes us yearn for those times that have gone by, when the world was a kinder place and love for another was more prevalent.  Mankind seems to have lost the care and concern that once was a priority for people.  Your neighbor was your friend and not an enemy.  That neighbor is not necessarily the one next door to you, but anyone across the city, town or the nation.

There are still people that yearn for those times where you can find kindness, care, and understanding for another’s plight.  But, the question is how do we get back to this wonderful place?  This once global utopia that existed is gone. We did not know we had a Utopia.  We were looking for perfection and did not realize that we had perfection all the time. Man was living in a state of perfection when we depended on our Blessed God and Savior instead of ourselves.  Technology has become our dependence.

Technology has become a virtual blight upon mankind.  It is robbing our children of how to live a life without punching a button or asking Google.

Do we ever tell them to pick up their Bibles to help them find the answer? We are teaching them to turn to technology for all answers.  Children in this day and time are born wired.  They do not have to be taught, they seemingly, come here knowing.  Technology is the dessert mothers are feeding their unborn children along with the rest of the food they eat.

The blight of entitlement comes along with this technologically motivated age.  Man has become robots and slaves to this age of advancement.

We must ask ourselves, where do we go from here?

Learning the art of the use of basic tools (our brain and thought processes) for living is not a bad thing.  In the same light, technology is not a bad thing.  It is man and their quest for more and more knowledge and power, of which, technology have provided this generation this power, is the bad thing.

Generation X, like the Bible warn us, is an untoward generation.  They do not have a “definite”, as far as their lives and their direction.  Anything goes in this day and time with the imagination of mankind.  We are building another Tower of Babel, once again.  We have become a nation of Nimrods, who in his time was trying to achieve the same thing, a reach for a pinnacle of power.

Has technology become the 21st century human’s Tower of Babel?  That tower was only built just so high, true it went into the clouds, but that was the stopping point. Nimrod and his tower was bordering on more danger than they realized.  Man today has their heads in the same clouds.

The desire for power destroyed the Tower of Babel.  It was abandoned after God confused the language of the adherent to Nimrods desire and quest for this power.  The people were scattered and went different ways and created their own culture and other quests for power.

We as the Nimrods of this century should not let technology become our Tower of Babel.  It lays in ruins and is still a reminder of the failure of man in his quest for power.

Technology is already producing some of the ruins in our society. Human’s use of technology puts a blight on our nation in reference to its uses to reveal confidential information as, was done in the National Security Administration (NSA), just one example of how man use technology to gain power.  The use for this type of knowledge is ill-gotten gain.  This use of technology is a blight on our land.  We are teaching our future generations well.  Therefore, what will they use technology for?  The use of technology was not created for committing treason as some citizens have done, but was created for the betterment of society and to give our children a future that is productive, efficient and safe.

Technology have done so much good for societies on a global scale.  In the face of this being a positive, the future generations still need to know how to work without the aid of technology.  A machine is thinking and making decisions for our children, this takes away their brain power and reasoning ability.

Educational institutions are in the process of replacing books with tablets; this is another blight on the land.  Where will education for our children end?  Back to the basics is where we need to be and use technology to aid the learning process, not let technology be the learning process.

Education, the traditional way, is a disappearing art and science.  Where will it stop or where will we stop it and get our children back to the basics of life.  We lose so many of them on the streets because they lack the skills to function properly outside of a technological field.  Is our society pushing technology as the only type of education and not pushing actual raw knowledge, i.e. the art of learning to read, effectively communicating one on-one rather than behind a PC, brick laying, welding, carpentry, and other skills that are still necessary in our society.

The analogy that our children are born wired in this century, should scare us as parents.  When you think of wires, what comes to mind is the word “control” all written in capital letters?

 

 

 

 

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The South: We Smoked Our Sister: A Book Review

Comments from the Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards Judge

The author has done a nice compilation of short life narratives versus a traditional memoir. I am particularly fond of the chapter names and use of biblical footnotes throughout.

Overall, this is a well-crafted, professional read that is poignant and I commend the author for creating a lovely memoir to share with generations to come

A short story collection that can be read in one sitting. A JOB WELL DONE!

 

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The South: Grief: A Mother: The Lantern on the Porch

Grief takes on many forms, as with anything; there is some characteristic or color that can be assigned to grief like red or black.  People tell you how to grieve, which is not possible even though, you have lost a loved one.  Each loss is different.  Losing a mother and father is different grief from losing a sister or brother. But losing a mother is like losing the Lantern on the Porch.

There is a connection to a mother that is different from any out there.  You are tied to mom in a different way.  There is a closeness between a child and mother that is unmatched by any other.

Mothers carry you for nine month feeding, protecting and nourishing you, which is of course, started in the womb.  Not saying that a mother who did not birth you, do not love you, but there is a deep seated tie between you and the mother that carried you for nine month or to term at best.

It is a relationship that is an example like the one that that you have that is closer to God than any other out there.  That relationship reaches an inward part of a mother and child that only that mother and child can know.

The same is with our relationships with God; our relationship with God is different and is a deep-seated one that cannot be understood unless you know God.  A mother and a child relationship is like that; it is hard to put a finger on the why’s of the ties between a mother and a child.

There is a beauty there that cannot be captured on canvas or with a camera.  It is best described to this blogger, who lost a mother, as The Lantern On The Porch.  Mothers shine like beacon in the night as a beacon on the beach shines in a lighthouse to guide the sailors on their way to shore.

Without this light, sailors would be lost and without a mother care and nourishment and guidance, we would be lost.  Therefore, when we lose a mother, the light in our world somehow goes out and we flounder in darkness because we have lost our way or lost the lantern that once shined so brightly in our lives.

This is why grieving for a mother is different in color for everyone.  Mothers who adopt or is a mother of a child not by birth, love their children very deeply, and the children love their mothers and she too as well is a Lantern on the Porch.

We grieve so deeply at the loss of a mother and the loss is so painful, therefore it should make us stop and think when we have a mother in our lives how important they are and that should make us want to treat them as that “Lantern On The Porch” because when that light goes out the world take on a different meaning.

I get through the grief by remembering the relationship, whether it was like a sunny day in spring or if it was a dark night like the ones in winter.  All these times are good and those memories like your mother’s arms can wrap you up and keep you safe and warm.

Those memories can nourish you and care for you even though the “Lantern on the Porch” has gone out.  The memories can shine just a bright for you and help you in those difficult time we face in life when our mothers are no longer with us.

Grief is a healing process, so let yourself grieve and feel anger, disappointment, sadness, loss, and fear.  Only time can heal grief. No one can tell you how to grieve or how much to grieve.  Every human make up is different.

Do you have a Lantern on the Porch, Cherish Her?

Grieving for a Father

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The South: A Tribute To A Fallen Education Warrior, Leader, Servant, and Friend

Education was paramount to this warrior, so paramount that she fought to make one of Mobile County’s Community Colleges one of the best in the Southeast.

Bishop State became an institution known for it academic excellence beginning from the early 1970 forward, but it only became a community college of noteability in the early 1980′s when the warrior became its educational leader.

She was well-educated and understood what education meant for the future of our country, youth and community.  Offering classes in the many types of required skills the the labor market demands to find jobs, Bishop State is the leader.

When the leadership was given to this education warrior, Bishop State experienced a spurt of growth that it had never had since its inception.  Like a butterfly in a cocoon, Bishop State was waiting to be born to spread its education wings.  This new leader put this institution on the road to success. This success caught the eye of everyone from Coast to Coast.

When the name Bishop State is mentioned, it is synonymous with the name Dr. Yvonne Kennedy.  She made Bishop State a household word for education.  She expanded her fight all the way to the Alabama State Legislature.  Dr. Kennedy served as a Senator in the State Legislature and wore many hats including, serving her district since the early 1970′s. While in the Legislature, she never forgot that education was an important factor in everyone’s lives no matter the status in life, race, creed, color, or natural origin.

To try and list even a fraction of her contributions to this State and her community would take more space than this blogger has. This fact is very telling in and of itself.

Dr. Yvonne Kennedy, The Fallen Education Warrior, Leader, Servant, and Friend of the People, of Mobile County will be sadly missed by the community and State she loved and served all of her adult life.

Thank you Dr. Kennedy.

Dr. Kennedy died on Sunday, December 9, 2012. She will be sadly missed by the community

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The South: We Smoked Our Sister: Shoot and Ask Questions Later: Chapter 13

Over the fence and through the field to Grandpa and Grandma’s house we’d go.  Grandpa and Grandma Seymour’s house sat snuggled behind a fence and through a gate that was covered by a pink and red Rose Trellis which opened into Grandma and Grandpa’s spacious and beautifully-crafted yard. There behind this beautiful entry-way sat a weather-worn huge house with a backyard that sloped down a hill.  The back of the house was supported by stilts.

The journey up to the kitchen from the back yard took you up 15 to 20 steps.  It was a long journey to little children.  Looking off Grandpa’s porch (looked like you were standing on top of a mountain) was scary; like the house he lived in.  It was the most enormous house that the Seymour children had ever seen (not that they had seen that many, since it was so rural).  Enormous and intimidating, it could have been labeled a stationary Ark, you know like the one in the Bible that Noah built.  Grandpa’s house had many rooms. The rooms were so large that a little child could get lost in them; it seemed.  Grandpa was a tall, wiry man, whose heritage was Cherokee/Creek/Irish.

Grandpa was an expert with many things, but the two things he was really, really good at was: a butter knife to eat with, and a colt 45, his partner, to shoot with.  Grandpa could eat peas and rice off a flat butter knife without spilling a drop. Sage said, “His eating could easily be described as an art.”   He could also, shot without missing; he had a true warrior spirit.  Grandpa was a quiet man with a very determined spirit, but Grandma Chastity was just the opposite, vocal and prissy, if you can picture that.

The Seymour children had a different adventure each time they visited their grandparents.

But, Sage said that, “They had what they called, “The Big Lima Bean Adventure” since this was what they were fed every time they visited.”

The Seymour children learned either to love or hate Lima Beans, Cornbread, and Rice (white) yuck, yuck!Listening to Grandpa was like a Wild West Adventure.  He was born in the 1800’s when the West was still young.  A native of Washington County, Alabama gave Grandpa a chance to be right in the middle of the action.—shoot and ask questions later or just simply hang’ um high on a tree.  Grandpa carried his Wild West, Jessie James mentality, right over into the 1900’s.

Grandpa sat in a straight backed chair all the years the Seymour children were growing up.  He never sat on all four legs, he mastered sitting on two legs in that straight chair, without ever falling backwards, at least, he never admitted falling backwards, or any other way. The front room or the living room was his favorite room in the house, which had a big old fashioned fireplace.  The fireplace was built when a fireplace was a fireplace—sturdy, large, with that weather worn look, as if it had been standing for a while, much like the house.

The Seymour children loved the house, especially under the back porch and steps.  A full-sized 6ft or 7ft man could stand up straight under the back porch.  Many adventures were had under that back porch, make believe ran rampant.   The porch was so situated that anyone could hide under it and you would never know they were there—a surprise attack was always possible, is why Grandpa never left the doors of the house at night, front or back.

When Jacque, Sr. was younger, he had a car accident that damaged his voice box, which gave his voice a growling sound, fitting his Native American and Jessie James personality.  This 6 ft. tall and 125 pounds man carried himself as if he weighed 200 pounds.  Grandpa Seymour was a heavy weight in lots of ways.  Packing his 45 Caliber pistol; he was Chunchula’s  modern-day Jessie James.  He would not fail to use that 45 Caliber pistol, if you pushed him far enough.

There in front of the fireplace would sit this 125 pounds man, packing his Colt 45.  Night fell early in the 1960’s; the only light was a cold oil lamp he lite to get relief from the pitch black darkness, or the fire light from the fireplace. His house was scary at best in the daytime and even scarier at night.  Every night Grandpa sat on two legs in his chair in front of the fireplace, which was always lite year round; wearing his Overalls with suspenders lying loosely around his shoulders, dipping snuff, and spitting into his spit can; it was a sight to behold (spit cans were popular in those days).

Remember, Grandpa Seymour was a Cherokee/Creek Indian who would go to war with you, if necessary. As he sat by the fire each evening, his partner Colt 45 was not far away, she would be lying just within reaching distance, if he needed her.  After the sun went down, nights were so dark it was hard to see your hands in front of your face.  The darkness was enhanced by the fact that the house was sitting back under huge oak trees, which kept a good bit of the light out, even in the daytime.

There were strange noises around Grandpa’s house.  Walking down the dirt road to Grandpa’s house was a creepy, eerie journey after dark (cracking limbs, footsteps in the leaves, hooting’s, cat calls and meowing’s,) more than that, there seemed to be human sound coming from the darkness; a baby crying in the bushes.   Lamps, remember were the only light at this time; electricity had not been strung in the Chunchula area, not in this part of Georgetown, anyway.  Each night these sounds persisted and Grandpa Seymour would take his partner, Colt 45, and shoot 2 or 3 times out of the back door and 2 or 3 times out of the front door and holler out of each door after he’d shoot “get out from nare.” With his voice with that growling sound, he could sound pretty dangerous and spooky himself.

He was asked, “What if you hit somebody shooting into the darkness?”  “Shouldn’t you find out who or what it is first?”  “His respond was a loud, noooh, “I shoot and ask questions later.”  Grandpa said, “He never intended to take a chance.”  He could never tell what the sounds were or when there might really be some danger lurking just outside of the shadows of the light.” So, he would shoot.

Heavy weight, pistol toting, snuff dipping grandpa; he was a jewel in the Seymour family.  Everybody looked to Grandpa Seymour for advice and wisdom; he was truly the head of the family; which is very rare in this society.  Everybody that knew Grandpa Seymour knew they had better not go to house after dark….the one’s that didn’t know about “Grandpa Seymour’s  shoot and ask questions later” mentality, soon found out.

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The South: We Smoked Our Sister: Chapter 6: The Elephant in the Branch

Sage’s Grandparents Elisha and Marshall Barrington lived in Citronelle, Alabama when Sage was growing up.  Her Grandparents lived under what Sage called “two hills”.  Highway 45 extends a long way, and through Citronelle was one of the places where Highway 45 passed.  When Sage and her family visited her grandparents, they always went down under one hill and at the turn-off to her grandparent’s house you went down the dirt road that had been entrenched by vehicle usage overtime with grass growing in the middle that made a sheeting sound when a car or wagon was driven over it.  Even though it was car friendly, you could travel by mule and wagon.  This dirt road led down another little hill to her grandparent’s home.

The house was a long house (crosswise) with a porch; and it set back ¼ mile off highway 45. Her grandparent’s house was built on the same style of Sage’s parents’ house, with the doors lined-up with each other and the back of the house was a good ways off the ground at least 10 -15 steps up to the top (the Chunchula house had 5 steps to the top).  The house was divided into four rooms (2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room/bedroom).  Sage’s Grandparents, Marshall and Elisha Barrington, her Aunt Annie Barrington, and her Uncle Arthur Barrington, lived there (all grown, of course).

Her Grandparent’s home was always a scary place to Sage.  It was dark under that little hill at night and the fact that the house was surrounded by oak trees and pine trees, didn’t help.  Sage felt as if she was in a deep dark forest with only a path leading out.  In addition to the dark forestry look, there was her grandfather’s mother Myrna Ghosteling, boy talk about strange. She lived in a little one room house with walls that revealed the studs with piles of stuff everywhere; with the smell of burnt goat meat looming over the house like a watchman.  This sight and the smell alone was enough to scare a 10 year old girl to death.  She had wall to wall cats everywhere (she did not need wall paper or sheet-rock, she had her cats) to line them walls.  The Laura Ingalls Wilder story of the Little House in the Big the Woods had nothing on this place.

Her grandparent’s source of water at that time was a spring down under a hill (on the left side of the house; there was always a hill) and through a dense forest of trees that any predator could have hidden in. Boy, it was a scary ordeal getting water from that spring.  On the right side of the house, was another branch.

Sage said, “She could never figure out whether this branch ran into the branch where the spring was boxed in or not; if so, she and her brothers and sisters would have big problem getting water.”

In those days, you built a box with a hole in it for the water to gather to be dipped into a bucket and toted back to the large barrel outside the back door of the kitchen of grandma and grandpa’s house.  The back of the house had the long progression of steps that led you up to the back door right into the kitchen.  Remember, the house sat on a hill.  These step looks like they extended into the clouds to a 10 year old.

Sage said that, “Her Grandpa Seymour’s house had a high back porch and steps that went into the clouds also.  She could never figure out what was with all the long steps and the high back of houses that her parents and grandparents lived in.”

 

At night, Sage and her family would sit on her grandparent’s front porch for the natural air-conditioning; it was hot in the house, because the roof was tin, just like the roof on Sage’s parent’s house and her Grandpa Seymour’s house.  These roofs reminded Sage as she reflected back, to the movie “A Cat on the Hot Tin Roof.”  She certainly felt like she was a cat under a hot tin roof, so Grandma and Grandpa Barrington’s porch was a relief.

Sage’s grandparents had electricity at that time, but no other lights were available, in fact, street lights were unheard of, so darkness loomed over the house; and it was as black as it get.  If you were outside you could not see your hand if you held it up in front of your face (brings back lots of memories, ha?).

There had always been “Scary, Spooky” stories that circulated among the residents in Citronelle about the “happening” in the branch.  Sage was always leery about visiting her grandparents.  Even where she slept was on the side where the “dreaded” scary branch that ran down the right side of her grandparents’ house was located.  The outdoor latrine was on that side and even closer to the dreaded branch.  The latrine sat on the other side of the chicken yard, behind the Smokehouse and under a little hill.  Can you imagine a 10 year old girl going to the bathroom by herself?

This was the darkest night that Sage had ever experienced at her grandparent’s home.  As the evening progressed, the crickets begin to sing, the owl hooted, there were night sounds everywhere.  But, a distinct sound slosh…slosh…slosh…slosh, was coming from the branch as if a huge animal was walking in the water.  All of a sudden, all the night sounds were gone, the crickets stopped singing, the owl stopped hooting; it was just a loud resounding sound, slosh…slosh…slosh…slosh, that got louder and louder and loomed over the night.  The sloshing continued all the way down the branch.

Sage said, “She had always heard that there was an Elephant that walked in the branch on dark nights, but she never believed it.”  Now, she had heard it for herself, the Elephant in the branch…”  No one had ever seen him, but heard him only on the darkest of nights….Elephants in Citronelle? Go figure.  The Seymour children knew about elephants through the National Geographic Magazine, but never figured one was in Citronelle, only in Africa.”

Sage never found out if the two branches were connected, but it sure seemed that they might.  After the “Elephant” was heard walking in the branch, there was never a time when Sage and her sisters and brothers went to her grandparents’ spring to tote water that they did not hear a strange noise.  Could it have been their imaginations?  It sure never seemed to be, because all of them heard the same sounds coming from the branches that may or may not have connected.  The mystery is still there today, unresolved.  There was one thing that no one ever mentioned though; the Elephant never bothered anyone, just walked in the branch on the darkest of nights.  Nights are still dark in Citronelle, and her grandparent’s property is still there today, down under those two hills among the oak trees and pine trees, standing as a “guard” and a “still” reminder of days gone by, but still existing in the memories of a childhood.

 

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The South: Succession???

Those among us that are history buffs will know that the idea of “Succession” is a dead end street.

Where will the South get its monetary support to succeed?

Is there enough people support for succession?

The south lost the war between the states; the lack of being united was one the many reasons the war was fought.

We are still the United States and that cannot change with “petitions” or “wishing” we could.

“United we stand divided we fall, still rings true.”

We are still the greatest nation in the world.  World leader right now; greatness is a united effort.  We cannot peace meal greatness.

Think about it.

 

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The South: History Cries to Be Told

History is a very important aspect of our country and society.  With history that is passed or that has been lived, is important.  We each can learn from the history of our country. That history includes: our neighborhoods, counties, cities and towns.  History is buried in the South just waiting to be born.

Like a new born child, after nine month, it cries to be introduced to the world.  Everyone like to view a newborn child at birth; it is so precious and reminds us of days gone by. So, it is with history of the South, it can bring back memories and reflections of life in another time or show us the correct path to follow.

History tells us what the life was in that time period whether it was good or bad.  Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We are not makers of history, we are made by history.”  This quote rings so true.  The South and its citizens is what history has made it and them. So many cultures, traditions, beliefs, and values are held closely to it’s citizens hearts. The traditions are still observed.  The citizens of the South have moved forward, but yet and still, the traditions, beliefs, values, and cultures have stood still in time as still life does in a photograph.  These values and traditions that has made the South what it is today are like circular flows that integrate the past with the present.  That circular flow keeps getting larger and larger as time goes on.  History is built like a building built upon a foundation. That foundation was laid long ago for the South.  The South is so rich, a gold mine of history and intrigue yet to be uncovered and revealed.

So, if you have a story, or know historical facts yet untold, tell it, write it in a book, or share it with someone so they can write it; don’t hide it under a blanket that says private, share it with the world. History helps make the world a better place whether it is in an individual sense or collective sense.  Even it if does not, it can intrigue or interest someone and you have made that someone’s day.

I am writing a historical book that is due out next Spring 2013: I Lived On The Other side Of The Line: The 1960′s Civil Rights Era Through The Eyes of A Child: The Road to Freedom.  This books portrays the Road to true freedom, equality and justice like that baby that cries to be born introduced to the world everyone want to see a new born so it is with historical facts that have not been shared, uncovered or revealed.

Don’t keep history hidden, write about it. Leave a legacy for the future generations on their journey through “Life.”

www.carlottamaria.com

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